Reds would reportedly consider trading Joey Votto to Blue Jays if he asked for it
The Reds hope to keep Joey Votto but they would reportedly consider dealing him to Toronto if they're out of contention by the trade deadline.
If the Toronto Blue Jays are in the market for a first baseman around this season’s trade deadline, they might be able to scoop up Canadian MLB icon Joey Votto from the Cincinnati Reds.
Votto, born in Toronto and raised in Etobicoke, Ont., was drafted by Cincinnati in 2002 and has played for just one franchise his entire career, compiling 16 seasons with the Reds. But as he prepares for his 17th major-league campaign, management has considered what life could be like without the six-time All-Star.
In speaking with former general manager and current MLB analyst Jim Bowden, Reds GM Nick Krall said he hopes Votto will finish his career in the same place it started. If Cincinnati becomes a seller at the trade deadline, though, Krall could be open to dealing the 2010 NL MVP to his hometown franchise if that's Votto's wish.
Nick Krall #Reds GM told us their plan is for Joey Votto to finish his career as a Red. However, if the Reds are out of it at the trade deadline and Votto came to them and asked if they would trade him home to Toronto #BlueJays..he said he would consider under those circumstances
— Jim Bowden⚾️🏈 (@JimBowdenGM) March 20, 2023
The 39-year-old Votto is entering the final season of his 10-year, $225-million contract, which includes a full no-trade clause and a $20-million club option for 2024, with a $7-million buyout.
Joining the Blue Jays would make plenty of sense from Votto's perspective, allowing him to play on a playoff contender after enduring consecutive rebuilding seasons in Cincinnati. It would also grant him an opportunity to represent his childhood team — something he’d likely cherish at this stage of his career.
Votto has made just four visits to the Rogers Centre because he's played in the National League Central Division but has enjoyed his fair share of success there in the past, hitting .250/.340/.614 with a 146 wRC+ across 12 games — including a game-winning home run against Toronto last May.
Acquiring the veteran wouldn’t make as much sense for the Blue Jays, though, especially with Brandon Belt — a fellow left-handed-hitting first baseman — already on the roster. Unless Belt’s knee issues return or his production is poor, there likely wouldn’t be much playing time available for an external addition at the position with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. set to handle the bulk of the work there.
Not to mention, Votto might not be able to provide much upside during his age-39 campaign, considering he hit .205/.319/.370 with 11 home runs, 41 RBIs and a 92 wRC+ over 91 games last season. He also missed the end of 2022 due to a torn rotator cuff and a left bicep injury.
Still, the allure of adding a hometown player to a roster with World Series aspirations would certainly generate an enormous amount of buzz throughout Toronto’s fan base.